Health secretary Matt Hancock announced his plan to focus on the prevention of the country’s costly health problems this week (5 November 2018).
In a vision ‘Prevention is better than cure’, the Government reiterated its ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030. Consultations into intentions to end the sale of energy drinks to children and introduce compulsory calorie labelling for pubs are underway.
The Government also introduced a soft drinks levy and said it was working with the industry to “reformulate products that children eat and drink the most”.
Not everyday occurrence
Nicholls said: “It should be noted that, for the vast majority of customers, eating and drinking out is not an everyday occurrence.
“We are ready and willing to support the Government, but we need to avoid any knee-jerk measures that threaten businesses disproportionately.”
The sector has already made commitments to encouraging healthy attitudes and should not be unfairly lambasted, she said.
“The hospitality sector is committed to promoting healthy attitudes to food and drink. Venues have worked hard to reformulate menus to reduce calories and provide greater choice and transparency.
“We will continue to work with our members, the wider sector and our partners to promote healthy eating and drinking and communicate our efforts to the Government to help tackle any health issues,” Nicholls added.
She said the sector works alongside partners like Drinkaware to encourage safer drinking and healthy attitudes towards alcohol.
Focus on prevention
Introducing the Government policy, Hancock said: “A focus on prevention and predictive medicine isn’t just the difference between life and death, it’s the difference between spending the last 20 years of your life fit and active, or in constant pain from a chronic condition.
“So our focus must shift from treating single acute illnesses to promoting the health of the whole individual. That requires more resources for prevention.”
The vision also focused on reducing social isolation, with plans to make the prescription of cultural and community services available everywhere by 2023.